At what point does stuff cross the line from “necessary items” to “unnecessary junk”? Is it when we step on a LEGO trying to leave a sleeping child’s room? Is it when we stare down an overstuffed closet in preparation for a move? Is it when we lose a loved one and need to clean out a basement full of memories and accumulated life? When do things stop being clean and start being clutter?
That point comes when we feel like we no longer have control over the amount or proper placement of our clothing, decorations, or toys, or when our surroundings are so full they no longer bring us happiness. Luckily, people like Lisa Dickmann are available to bring clarity and organization to the clutter in our lives.
Lisa runs Tidy Upgrade, a St Louis-based consulting agency aimed at helping clients tidy their homes using the Konmari method. There are 40 Konmari certified consultants nationwide, and Lisa is the only certified consultant in the state of Missouri. She utilizes her Masters degree in counseling as well as her Konmari training to teach others how to clear clutter and spark joy in their surroundings.
The Konmari method is a specific way of organizing your belongings to create joy and peace in your home and in your mind. As Lisa describes it, “It’s different from other organizing because it’s more holistic. It works better. When you hire other people to come in and organize your home for you, you are then jumping into the middle of the process, making it hard for you to understand what is going on and keep it that way.” Lisa’s practice begins with setting a vision, asking yourself what you want your life and home to look like. Then, all your belongings go into the middle of the room. “We put everything in a big pile – this allows you to see just how much there is. We then touch everything and ask ourselves ‘does this spark joy?’ If it doesn’t, you say ‘Thank You’ then you put it in the donation pile. This allows you to show gratitude and makes it easier for you to let go of the item. If it sparks joy, we put it away neatly!”
Lisa and the Konmari method get more specific from there. “There is a special method of folding. Clothing is put upright so you are not digging in your drawers. You do not want your drawers to be more than 90% full.” Also, only one person works on the process at a time, so that the organization can trickle down through the rest of the family. And don’t be afraid of a relapse – Lisa is ready to guide you through that process, too! “I can provide any support if needed. It’s called “rebound” if you go back to a cluttered house. However, most of the time it’s that everything still has a place, it just needs to be put back.”
Lisa Hanewinkel Dickmann
Parents especially benefit from the Konmari method, with Lisa encouraging parents to consider this method as a way of maintaining sanity and preserving joy in the face of the difficulties of parenting. “It does wonders for a new mom! Moms have a lot on their shoulders already. I know as a mom, it’s a struggle. I give moms the tools that they need to keep their house from getting cluttered and thriving from day to day.” Lisa also encourages parents to involve their children in the process directly, letting them learn how to keep things organized from a young age. “If the child is 3 or older, involve them. If they are under 3, tidy before they turn 3 and then teach by example. Kids know what sparks joy. It’s easy for them.”
Like most of us, Lisa is a busy person, running a business and parenting three kids. She was inspired to learn more about the Konmari method from her college roommate. “My roommate in college was amazing at keeping things organized. It was so easy for her. Her dad had taught her how! She was very inspiring. I had tried different things and none of them ever worked. Finally I read the Konmari book and found the solution. It took me a couple of times – I didn’t do my whole house all at once. The second time around I did the Konmari method and got rid of 45 pounds of clothing. I wanted to see for myself that I could keep my house organized – and I could – and then signed up to be a consultant.” A tragic life event only reinforced the importance of the Konmari philosophy. “I was 29 weeks pregnant when I was headed up to the class to become certified, when we received a call from our doctor. He told us that our baby had a chromosomal abnormality and was not expected to survive. It was amazing to be at a place where everyone was so happy and there was so much joy. It got me though that time during the day and at night I would be at the hotel completely miserable. Our baby did die at birth, but I can not imagine going through something so hard and not having my home and life in order. It made life easier to move forward. We had these habits in place, so even though all the sadness, things got done and our home stayed organized. When I held my daughters dress, I did not feel joy, but I felt love. It’s part of our life and I love it! It’s not the same thing as something weighing you down. I want to teach this to other families to be able to spark this joy in their homes and help them to move though life easier.”
Services at Tidy Upgrade include one 5 hour session for $300, while the entire house is 6 visits and start at $1200. While that seems like a large commitment at first, Lisa says it is necessary to really see the desired changes take place. “We start with an interview. Then we begin. Tidy sessions are 5 hours. You need a long time to see a dent being made. You will see a huge magical change in that time. If were doing the whole home, we do it 3 sessions. You will get homework to work on. We need to have a tidying marathon – organize the entire house fast and profound. They are compelled to keep up. If you do a little at a time, you will never finish. Do it big! Watch the transformation happen. Set an example and eventually everyone will fall in line!”
So if you feel like you and your home would benefit from Lisa’s services, contact Tidy Upgrade at tidyupgrade.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pieces2lisa?fref=search. As Lisa’s says, “Everyone deserves to have a home with joy. When you have clutter, it brings you down. When you have joy and love in your home you’ll have more in your life!”
Blog Written By Emily Koeltzow